Another big weekend, full of valuable points, is on tap for the weekend of the 15th and 16th of November. The Superprestige makes its third stop in Gavere, Belgium while the United States Gran Prix of Cyclocross makes its third and fourth stops, with the Mercer Cup in East Windsor, New Jersey. Another balanced team will make this weeks winners, while a team too heavy on European talent may leave you out in the cold, as two thirds of the weekend’s points will come from the States. Somehow, I qualify as “the media” and will be watching, first-hand, the excitement that is this weekend’s Mercer Cup. By all means sign up for the fantasy action, as the door aren’t yet closed, nor will they ever close. Also, check out up to the minute results here.
The Mercer Cup Men
Another superb struggle between America’s elite men will unfold at 3PM on both Saturday and Sunday (If you’re as crazy as I am, there will be live updates provided by CXMagazine) as challengers from far and wide will attempt to unseat Jamis’ Jesse Anthony’s lead in the USGP Series. After a late start to the season, Anthony’s form has been constantly improving, and considering that he’s already been nipping at the heels of the upper echelon of American cyclocross, that late surge could equate to a win this weekend. Whether or not Anthony (who writes a column that you should all check out: here) takes home victory, he’s a good bet for a pair of top fives and a solid haul of points.
Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers of Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com traded wins last weekend at day 1 and day 2 of the Toronto International Cyclocross event and picked up 55 fantasy points a piece. They will look to continue that success on an arguably bigger stage this weekend and repeat last week’s feat. Standing in their way will be the Kona duo of Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks. Trebon has been America’s hottest commodity in this early stage of the season and will look to continue the streak he’s built for himself already. GT Bicycles’ Todd Wells is another good bet to fill in the top five, as his win at day one the Boulder Cup weekend proved on the first weekend of November. Coming off my 100% prediction ratio from last weekend, I’m going to start calling the wins of these races, so I can look like a total fool on Monday morning… comes with the territory. Saturday: Trebon, Powers, Anthony. Sunday: Johnson, Wells, Powers. Let’s pretend I just predicted the winners and call it even, OK?
The Mercer Cup Women
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that no one will be able to win maximum points this weekend from the women’s races. Katerina Nash (Luna) did not get into the top 50 in UCI points last year and was, probably shortsightedly, not included in the options for this year’s competition. To make it fair to everyone, I won’t add her in now, but I’ll give her her due in the prediction article. Outside of Katie Compton, Nash (who, by birth, is Czech) is the best performing “American” racer on the scene right now. That said, I would pick her for victory in at least one, if not both days of this weekend’s races. But too bad for everyone (except maybe me, if I want to keep my fantasy lead intact), she wont be scoring any points this weekend.
Nash’s teammate, Georgia Gould, however will be scoring points, and is the best true American at the moment. Gould can be counted on, barring mechanical, to feature in the top three of both races this weekend and will bring home some good points for her owners. Mixing it up with Gould and Nash will be the Canadian champion, Wendy Simms (Kona). Simms has been away from the Western Hemisphere for a while, choosing to race in World Cups and the like, and performing admirably. She will bring that form back home to the states and give the Luna armada a run for their money. Hoping to add to the battle are Velo Bella – Kona’s Amy Dombroski, who hopes to continue her rise up the cyclocross pantheon in motion, racing closer to home, nearer to her fan base, west coasters Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized), who won last weekend’s Dam Cross, and Sue Butler (Monavidcannondale.com), winner of the Single Speed World Championships, Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing P/B Seven Cycles) and Rebecca Wellons (Ridley Factory Team). Saturday: Nash, Gould, Simms. Sunday: Nash, Simms, Gould.
Superprestige Gavere Men
Another day, another rainy, mucky cyclocross race. As if last weekend’s World Cup in Pijnacker wasn’t enough mud for the world, another day full of it is in store for anyone in Gavere, Belgium. Considering recent results, that spells good things for one young Dutchman… who happens to wear World Championship stripes… and rides for Rabobank.
Lars Boom is the man to beat this weekend. His performance in last weekend’s World Cup, which was also a mudbath, as well as his repeat victory at the Jaarmarktcross Niel in Niel, Belgium, proved that Boom is a mudder with few rivals. Sven Nys of Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner and Niels Albert of Palmans – Cras will look to upset Boom’s current winning streak as will the Sunweb – Projob duo of Klaas Vantornout and Sven Vanthourenhout and the Fidea duo of Bart Wellens and Zdenek Stybar. Nys was the victor at the Houtlandcross Eernengem on Saturday while Albert, the runner up to Boom on two occaisions – the World Cup and Jaarmarktcross, and will desperately want to reverse his fortunes. Vanthourenhout is just coming back to his top form after missing a handful of weeks with a broken wrist, and had two top five finishes over the last week. Wellens looks to be getting back to his old self, as he brought home a couple of fourth place finishes at the World Cup and in Niel.
Other protagonists on the weekend will be the duo of Thijs Al and Richard Groenendaal, both of the AA Drinks – BeOne team, Rabobank’s Gerben de Knegt and Bart Aernouts, Fidea’s Kevin Pauwels and Francis Mourey of Francaise des Jeux. The lone American representative will be Planet Bike’s Jonathan Page who will look to move up from some disappointing finishes of late. Sunday: Boom, Nys, Wellens.
Superprestige Gavere Women
Apparantly the Superprestige is holding women’s races these days, which is good for me because I get to write more, and good for you because you get to read more. Oh yeah, it’s good for the racers too, because they get paid more. Hell, it’s good for everyone!
With no Hanka Kupfernagel on the start list, it looks like it’s time for Katie Compton (Spike – Shooter) to take home a victory. She came tantalizingly close last weekend in Pijnacker, with a clunky bike change essentially proving to be her downfall, so this weekend, it’s time to ascend to the top step of the podium. Offering up a challenge will be Daphny Van den Brand (ZZPR.nl) and the Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn. Helen Wyman (Swift Racing) will try to make positive strides on an already modest season with a top five and get back to her fourth place ranking from last season. Christine Vardaros will also be in Gavere to represent the United States of America. Sunday: Compton, Van den Brand, Wyman.
Superprestige Gavere U23 Men
After a but of a drop off last weekend, all eyes will be on whether or not Philipp Walsleben (Palmans – Cras) can get back to the top of the U23 podium. Walsleben has already taken home a number of victories this year and finishing in the high teens of last weekend’s World Cup could be seen as a disaster for the young German. Hoping to move himself into the limelight will be Fidea’s Tom Meeusen, Sunweb – Projob’s Lukas Kloucek (who also had somewhat of a disappointing ride last weekend) and Aurelian Duval (Francaise des Jeux).
Another week, another set of ridiculous predictions, where if I get 50% correct, I’m going to buy myself a new cross bike. I get paid by the word right? I volunteered for this? WHERE’S MY AGENT!
Lars Boom, Sven Vanthourenhout, Klaas Vantornout, Niels Albert, Ryan Trebon, Tim Johnson, Daphny Van den Brand, Helen Wyman, Katie Compton, Georgia Gould, Wendy Simms